Nearly half physician's practices have had to lay off, furlough workers, MGMA survey finds

As patient volumes plummet amid the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly half of independent medical practices report they have had to furlough or lay off staff, according to a new survey from the Medical Group Management Association. 

The survey, which garnered 724 responses from medical practices between April 7 and 8, found practices have seen an average 60% drop in patient volume on average and a 55% decrease in revenue since the beginning of the public health crisis. 

With those drops, 48% of practices said they'd been forced to temporarily furlough staff and 22% permanently laid off staff. Beyond that, many who have not yet lay off or furloughed staff said they would consider those cuts if conditions persist over the next 30 days.

About 75% of the respondents are part of independent medical practices and employ less than 50 full-time-equivalent (FTE) physicians. 

“Our new data reflect a shocking decline in the number of patients seeking non-COVID-19 medical care during this crisis,” said Anders Gilberg, who is MGMA's senior vice president of government affairs in a statement. “Patients are foregoing necessary preventive and even acute care out of fear of exposure. Medical practices are struggling to keep their doors open as volume collapses. The nation faces a second wave access crisis when the pent up demand for non-COVID-19 care is released and the rest of our healthcare system is offline as a result of the pandemic.”

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